Against the backdrop of a vast panoramic hand-embroidered landscape, Maria Grazia Chuiri’s Christian Dior haute couture collection represented her emotional response to standing up for the interdependence between couture and all the people who work to craft its materials. Coming back to in-person shows after three seasons made her want to reconnect with “being present,” through the awareness of the tactility of amazing hand-made textiles—that specialist, unseen chain of people in the fashion industry without which the practice of haute couture could not exist.
In a real way, her celebration of hand-loomed tweeds and the stitch-work carried out by embroiderers and silk manufacturers is the part haute couture will play in building back the post-pandemic economy on a larger scale—exactly as Christian Dior did with the explosion of fashion consumption in the post-war years of the 1950s. “I think for the people working around the tables at our ateliers again, there was a different, incredible kind of energy in working towards this show,” Chiuri said. The atmosphere and collective sense of purpose—even the enjoyment of working hard against a deadline—has been quite different from striving to get pieces together to be shot for Dior’s films during the pandemic. They kept on reassuring her, “don’t worry, we are tired, but we are happy!”